“Luther Is Grote Catechismus” by Prof. Dr. P. Boendermaker.(Luther’s Werken II). Published by J.H. Kok, N.V. Kampen, Netherlands. 138 pages. F 1, 75.
This little booklet (paperback) is a translation into the Holland language of the Large Catechism of Martin Luther, to be distinguished from Luther’s small catechism. In this booklet we have a brief explanation of the 10 commandments, the 12 Articles of Faith, the Lord’s Prayer, Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and Confession. The booklet begins with an introduction by Dr. Boendermaker, in which the reader is informed why Luther introduced his larger as well as his smaller catechism. We recommend this booklet to our readers who are able to read the Holland language, although it must be borne in mind that this is Luther’s Catechism, and that it therefore at times strongly bears the mark and character of Luther’s times and viewpoint. But the fact that Luther composed it should be reason enough for us to read it.
“By What Authority” by Bruce Shelley (The Standards of Truth in the Early Church). Published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. 166 pages. $1.95.
Also in the area of theology; the Christian theologian asks, Why should I accept this doctrine or that moral precept? By what authority do I embrace this or that? The Protestant Churches recognize only the Bible as authoritative. The Romish Church recognizes also Tradition as authoritative, and this means ultimately the pope. In this booklet of 166 pages (paperback), Dr. Shelley, head of the Department of Church History at the Conservative Baptist Theological Seminary in Denver, Colorado, shows how the early church encountered and answered the questions surrounding doctrinal authority. In the light of the recent Roman Catholic Vatican councils and the opinions of some that Roman Catholicism and Protestantism are drawing closer together, this book can be read with interest also by the laymen. Without endorsing all its content, we may recommend this booklet to our readers.
“Philippenzen en Philemon” by Dr. H.M. Matter. 120 pages. Published by: Uitgeversmaatschappij J. H. Kok, Kampen, Netherlands.
This book of 120 pages is a commentary on Philippians and Philemon in the Holland language. It is not a book for laymen. The author makes use of several sources and is exegetical throughout, basing his interpretation upon the original text. At the end of each verse he gives what he considers to be the proper translation of the text.
We believe that this book, as far as its content is concerned, is composed mainly of textual criticism, and we are of the opinion that he could have given more attention to the actual thought structure of the apostle. However, we would recommend this book to those among us who can read the Holland language and are able to follow the author as he works from the original text. We were disappointed with the author’s failure, in his exposition of Phil. 1:6, to stress the Divine character of our salvation from the beginning even unto the end. Interesting, however, is his explanation of such a key passage in Philippians as Phil. 2:5-11. And the same applies also to his treatment of the third chapter of this epistle.
As far as the author’s commentary on Philemon is concerned, he asks the question in his introductory remarks: “What is the purpose of this little epistle?” And he asks: “to abolish slavery?” He replies that the gospel came into the world for this purpose. Is this true? Does not Philemon teach that Onesimus, a slave who had deserted his master and, having fled to Paul, was converted during the apostle’s imprisonment, was returned by Paul to his master? Does not the epistle emphasize that, although in Christ we are spiritually free, the gospel nevertheless does not abolish social relationships and institutions, such as masters and slaves? We feel that the author does not make this clear in his interpretation of the book. But, we do recommend this book to such readers as are able to read it.
“The Quest For Serenity,” by G.H. Marling. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 91 pages. $1.25 paperback.
This book is a sort of spiritual autobiography; the author himself defines it as “a personal testimony of faith and experience.” He describes his own personal search for peace of heart. It is a brief book which can be read in one sitting and “is almost completely subjective in character. This can be shown by quoting a few chapter titles: “Faith’s Deepening, Rest”; “Leaving It All Quietly To God”; “Living Restfully With a God”; etc.
There are many nice thoughts and helpful suggestions in the book, and one can enjoy a few hours reading in it. Whether it will really help in the search for peace and serenity of heart is left for the reader to judge. The danger of the book is its thoroughly Arminian perspective.
—Prof. H. Hanko